Carpentry is one of the oldest construction trades, and as with all careers in the construction industry, it's in high demand. Incredibly diverse, as a carpenter on any given day you might be responsible for constructing and repairing building frameworks, making and installing fixtures like doors, stairs and window frames and cutting and shaping floorboards and roof timbers.
Once you have experience as a carpenter there are a number of areas you can specialise in:
Heritage carpentry – in this area you would concentrate on rebuilding, restoring and renovating buildings of historical importance. You might train specifically in traditional techniques.
Set design – you could find yourself working in the film industry building sets for big budget Hollywood movies.
Shopfitting – the scope for fitting out different shops is immense as companies seek to create their own unique spaces and brand. You could work with big high street names or small quirky independents.
Furniture design – some carpenters concentrate on furniture, making everything from wardrobes and cabinets to dining tables, shelving and chairs. If you are creative then this side of carpentry could appeal to you.
Should I become a carpenter?
To be a carpenter, the National Careers Service says that you'll need:
to be thorough and pay attention to detail
knowledge of maths
the ability to work well with others
patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
the ability to work on your own
sensitivity and understanding
If this sounds like you, then carpentry could be the career for you. Before jumping headfirst into the different routes to becoming a carpenter though, it will be worth you spending some time researching what it's like day-in-day out. This is quite an interesting article, while there's multiple videos on YouTube about working in carpentry for you to check out first.
It might also be worthing looking to complete a Level 1 Diploma in Carpentry to see if this is a career for you, before embarking on more timely and costly qualifications. Search for local courses available to you here.
How to become a carpenter?
There a two main routes you can take into carpentry.
An apprenticeship is the training route preferred by the industry. Traditionally only available for young people, now employers are eligible for funding for apprentices at any age.
Apprentices are able to earn while they learn, gaining both on-site experience combined with learning supported by a college or training provider.
You could do an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship in carpentry and joinery. There are 2 options:
Use this government website to search for apprenticeships near you.
If you're in a position to fund your own training, then you could also look to take a course through your local college or training provider.
However, be aware that work experience will be key to gaining employment within in the construction industry, so alongside any course (if they don't already offer on-the-job experience), it will be worth reaching out to local companies/carpenters for work experience.
You can search for Level 2 Diploma in Carpentry courses in your local area using the National Careers Service site.